Iran Nuclear NewsUranium work could yet resume, Iran warns EU

Uranium work could yet resume, Iran warns EU

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AFP: Iran is still examining the European Union’s latest offer to solve a dispute over its nuclear programme and could yet resume uranium conversion if it rejects the new proposal, Tehran’s top atomic official said on Friday. “We will restart
(work at the) the Isfahan (uranium) conversion plant, and the fuel cycle is our (non-negotiable) red line,” Hassan Rowhani said, replying to a question on what will happen if Iran refuses to accept the EU plan. AFP

TEHRAN – Iran is still examining the European Union’s latest offer to solve a dispute over its nuclear programme and could yet resume uranium conversion if it rejects the new proposal, Tehran’s top atomic official said on Friday.

“We will restart (work at the) the Isfahan (uranium) conversion plant, and the fuel cycle is our (non-negotiable) red line,” Hassan Rowhani said, replying to a question on what will happen if Iran refuses to accept the EU plan.

The Isfahan plant is used for uranium conversion, a precursor stage in nuclear enrichment, a process that the EU wants Iran to renounce as it can be used to develop nuclear weapons.

“Since the European proposal was a new one and it is up to the regime’s officials to make a decision, we brought it to Tehran. If not accepted we will begin enrichment in Isfahan,” he added, quoted by the IRNA news agency.

Rowhani also warned the Europeans that if “they want to drag out the negotiations, we will begin the enrichment in Isfahan.”

His comments come after Iranian officials and the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany on Wednesday managed in a last-ditch meeting in Geneva to avert a collapse of talks.

The European ministers, representing the 25-nation EU, agreed with Iranian negotiators that they would make new proposals to Tehran in late July or August on cooperation in civilian nuclear power and trade ties.

Iran in turn pledged to maintain a suspension of its uranium enrichment programme agreed in Paris last November, amid fears that Tehran’s plans would allow it to develop a nuclear bomb.

“Up to now, each time we have asked the Europeans to make clear proposals they have ducked the issue and taken time,” Rowhani said. “This is the first time they have committed to making overall proposals.”

The EU ministers had sought a September deadline, but in the end accepted a request by Iranian negotiators in Geneva to bring it forward.

Iran insists its bid to master the full nuclear fuel cycle, including uranium enrichment, is aimed at generating electricity and is a right for any country that has signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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